(AP) -- The Sacramento Kings have made strides defensively from last season, but the winless team needs to be much better offensively as well.The Kings look to avoid their first 0-4 start in four seasons in Monday night's home opener against the Golden State Warriors, who are seeking their first 3-0 road start in 18 years.With the Kings ranking last in the NBA last season in scoring defense (104.4 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (47.6), coach Keith Smart put an emphasis on improving those numbers coming into 2012-13. The result has been Sacramento giving up 97.0 ppg and 39.2 percent shooting, while Kings opponents have gone 8 for 48 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.Sacramento's second-half defense has been even more impressive, as the club is allowing an average of 42.0 points and 34.8 percent shooting.The Kings limited Indiana to 35 total points in the third and fourth quarters Saturday, but couldn't overcome giving up 38 in the second quarter of a 106-98 double-overtime loss."We gotta figure out a way to keep that (second-half) defense for 48 minutes," guard Tyreke Evans said. "We get down and then we try to pick it back up. We can't do that. We've got to start from the beginning. I think that's how we're going to get our first win."Improved shooting might also help that happen. The Kings, who opened 0-4 in 2008-09, are scoring 88.3 points per game and hitting 37.5 percent from the field."The thing is, we were so focused on being a defensive team. We kinda want to worry about the offense now," said big man DeMarcus Cousins, who's shooting 38.9 percent - well below his career mark of 43.8.The Warriors (2-1) have not won their first three road games since 1994-95. In their last trip to Sacramento on March 13, Golden State won a season-best third consecutive road contest 115-89.The Warriors are looking to build on Saturday's 114-110 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. A day earlier, reserve guard Brandon Rush was lost for the season with an ACL tear."We don't quit," coach Mark Jackson said. "We had every reason to quit, but we gutted it out and we defended."That defense and the team's rebounding could improve with center Andrew Bogut expected to return after missing one game, with rookie Festus Ezeli recording eight points and five rebounds in his place Saturday. For the time being, the Warriors do not plan on playing Bogut on back-to-back nights due to the fractured left ankle he suffered last season Milwaukee.The Warriors are outrebounding opponents by 5.3 per contest, with David Lee and Carl Landry leading the way with 50 combined boards.The Kings, who have been outrebounded by an average of 12.0, had a 199-158 advantage on the glass against Golden State last season but dropped three of four.
Sacramento — Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé released the following statement.
“I have a deep respect for our nation’s unwavering commitment to free speech and support all Americans’ right to freely express themselves. The President's recent comments are deeply disappointing, because our focus should be on fostering a culture of sensitivity and inclusion. Our mission at the Sacramento Kings has always been to unite our community and use our platform to create positive change, so we continue to stand with our players, and all people, who use their platform to raise awareness and make Sacramento and our country proud.”
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It’s been a summer of change for the Sacramento Kings. A roster upheaval has 10 new players vying for minutes once training camp opens on Tuesday. The coaching staff has been bolstered and fresh blood was added to the front office in the form of analytics guru Luke Bornn and assistant general manager Brandon Williams. On Thursday, one more piece to the puzzle was brought in to help develop the team’s young core.
With the hiring of Galen Duncan as the franchise’s new Vice President of the Kings Academy and Professional Development, Sacramento is making a major investment in the future of their team.
According to the team’s official press release, “Duncan is responsible for implementation of the Kings Academy program, a developmental, player-centric curriculum aligning multi-faceted organizational philosophies and ideals to help athletes mature into well-rounded professionals. Under Duncan’s oversight, Kings Academy will augment on-court progress with access to practical material and experiences that help balance on-court priorities and personal responsibilities with opportunities to become impactful contributors in the community.”
After 10 years with the Detroit Lions, Duncan is making the jump to the NBA game. He’s already had a taste of the league, working with the league office as part of the NBA Rookie Transition Program.
With five rookies and another four sophomores on the roster, the Kings are investing in a seasoned mentor and life coach. Armed with a Ph.D. in health psychology from Walden University, Duncan will aid the players in everything from finding an apartment to dealing with the stress of life as a 19-year-old millionaire with no experience paying a bill.
“My passion has always been sports,” Duncan told NBC Sports California. “Sports has done wonderful things for me. I don’t care what level they’re at or how much money they make, I think there is something to learn and I have something to teach.”
With the Lions, he brought incoming rookie classes through everything from etiquette courses to teaching them how to tie ties. His goal is to transform a group of young men into professionals, who just happen to be professional athletes.
It’s not just about making a polished product for the media and general public. Duncan will work with players on a variety of personal issues, including money management, dealing with family and professional on-court performance.
“Unfortunately, sometimes family can be your worst enemy,” Duncan said. “But if structured correctly and if nurtured, I think the education goes beyond just the player. I think you have to educate the family as well about what they’re doing.”
The transition to the NBA game will be interesting for Duncan. He comes from a game where the incoming rookie class can be anywhere from 10-15 players. He hasn’t dealt with 19-year-olds at the NFL level and guaranteed contracts are new as well, but the job is very similar.
Sacramento has always had a support staff to help with the transition to the NBA game, but the addition of Duncan is a new level of commitment by the team. They have a huge group of young players and they are making an investment into their futures and the future of the franchise. It’s a clear step in the right direction.